Jurickson Profar is that good. I've seen him at three levels, including his debut game a couple of seasons ago in Cleveland. He hit a homer that was a no-doubter, a moment that many noted as a perfect start for the top prospect of his day.
He's still that talented, but his move to the starting lineup for the Texas Rangers will have to wait as he recovers from a significant shoulder strain. Losing Profar for any amount of time is a big negative, especially combined with a number of other spring injuries to key players.
However, there's no indication that Profar will have any long-term effect due to this injury.
Profar will miss at least two months and perhaps three with a Grade II+ strain of his teres major, according to The Associated Press. The muscle is deep in the shoulder area, below the rotator cuff and connects the torso to the arm. (Don't mix up the teres major with the teres minor, which is one of the four muscles of the rotator cuff.)
The teres major interacts with several other muscles, such as the latissimus dorsi, which make this kind of strain unusual for baseball players.
The muscle is involved in both throwing and hitting, so the severe strain will make both of those activities painful and put the muscle at risk until it is fully healed. Muscle is very difficult to surgically reattach, though Jake Peavy had a similar but not identical situation and has been fine since his muscle was pinned back in place.
In the long term, Profar should have no trouble returning from this injury.
His arm won't be as tested this season at second base, and with Elvis Andrus locked in long term at the position, Profar won't be forced to shift back. That said, Andrus is dealing with his own arm issues, fighting pain and inflammation in his elbow all spring.
At the plate, Profar may have a bit more of a struggle in adjusting early on. He could have some tightness and guarding when he fully extends his arm. That could lead to some loss of plate coverage and power, though he should have no lasting issues in the long term.
The timeline is standard, with the quoted 10- to 12-week time frame being slightly on the conservative side. The Rangers, under head athletic trainer Jamie Reed, have always been a bit conservative, largely due to the organization's depth.
Assistant general manager Thad Levine told the media that Profar would be shut down from baseball activities for four to six weeks. He'll be undergoing intensive therapy but resting the muscle to allow healing to take place.
After that, he'll have to ramp up both his batting and throwing, which could have some fits and starts to it. Where that takes place remains to be seen, though he'll need a rehab assignment. Those usually take place at Frisco (AA) where rehab ace Carlos Olivas handles many of these players.
The Rangers are likely to open the season with Adam Rosales but have traded away depth at the position over the last year. Ian Kinsler was shipped to Detroit for a big upgrade at first base in Prince Fielder, while Leury Garcia was sent to the Chicago White Sox in the Alex Rios deal.
They're left with journeymen in Rosales and Brent Lillibridge to fill the gap.
The Rangers made those deals largely because of what they saw in Profar. They also have an upcoming star at the position in Rougned Odor. Odor should start the season at Frisco, which would have him right up the Rayburn Tollway from Arlington, just in case.
Along with Andrelton Simmons and Xander Bogaerts, Profar is one of the baseball jewels from the Netherlands Antilles. Profar still has a great career ahead of him, but we'll have to wait to see how he adjusts to second base.
The Rangers will have to be patient and figure out how to make up for his absence at a thin position.
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